Van Ansems’ 70 years in Aus

The Van Ansem family celebrated 70 years since their ancestors migrated to Australia with a 120-strong reunion on Easter Saturday. Pictures: CONTRIBUTED

On Easter Saturday, about 120 descendants of Gerard and Regina Van Ansem met in Forest Hill for a family reunion.

Family members came from as far away as Sydney, Darwin, and North Queensland to celebrate the family’s 70th year in Australia.

Gerard and Regina arrived in Australia in 1954 with their 10 children: Peter, Mary, Tony, Cathy, John, Gerard, Rina, Tinie, Arnold and Christine.

They started their Australian life in country New South Wales working on a sheep station.

Later, the family moved to the warmth of Queensland and settled in the Lockyer Valley, working on a farm at Lake Clarendon.

Gerard and Regina bought their own home, ‘Benthem’, in Forest Hill, where Gerard started a poultry farm on what is now known as Van Ansem’s corner.

The first years in Australia were very tough for the family, but they never once regretted their decision to come to Australia.

The Van Ansem children forged their own lives, many meeting their partners, marrying, and raising their families in the Lockyer Valley.

The reunion brought together 4 generations, many of whom had never met or had not seen each other in many years.

For the younger generations, it was a great opportunity to meet their second and third cousins as well as their great Aunties and Uncles.

It was also a bit daunting for some to realise that they were related to so many people. One of the younger teens was heard to say, “Mum, am I really related to all these people?”

Over a fabulous lunch, there were peels of laughter as stories were told, memories were shared, and many photos taken to record the special day.